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Stick with the game you know

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 25 Feb 2015 at 10:31
Tagged with : , , , ,

I conducted a bit of a mini survey on Twitter yesterday and thought I’d expound a little further on my point here. As fans calling for “exciting rugby”, or the even more vague “traditional Natal rugby”, what did we really think of Saturday’s game against the Lions?

Let’s put the conditions aside for a minute and consider the game as a spectacle. It’s a commonly-held theory that the Sharks have lost some (or perhaps even most) of their appeal in recent times due to the shift towards “boring rugby” and that in order to attract the fickle Durban crowd back to Kings Park, the team needs to entertain. Jake White, bless him, may have brought the results (at least initially) but certainly failed to instill that feel-good factor and based on the talk coming from the new coaching team, that sort of thing will never again be allowed to happen.

Ok, great. But the Sharks beat the Lions on Saturday by following the sort of blueprint that Jake White himself claims to have invented; the only real difference was just how well it was executed. It was a forward-dominated, low risk strategy based on a strong set piece, territorial supremacy, clever tactical kicking and feeding off opposition mistakes. There was nary a fancy backline move in sight and yet – yet – I’ve not heard a single fan complain about the way the victory was achieved.

My new theory is this: fans want tries, period. The Sharks’ malaise in recent times can be distilled down to the simple fact that they haven’t scored enough tries and for the fans, the manner of said tries is probably less important than the fact that they are scored at all. Expounding on this and extrapolating, I’m quite sure fans will be perfectly happy with a similar approach to the game even in drier conditions, so long as “ugly” winning rugby yields the necessary tries, bonus points and ultimately trophies.

Since we have a limited sample space, let’s compare and contrast Lwazi Mvovo’s try from the Cheetahs game to either of Marcell Coetzee’s efforts from last week. While the former certainly trumped the latter in terms of “style points”, can we honestly say that we celebrated them differently, or were in any way unhappy that Marcell (or somebody else) hadn’t scored a prettier try? Answers on a postcard, please.

Rinse and repeat, copy and paste, pick your cliche for the upcoming Loftus clash, in other words.


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